Two days ahead of the second anniversary of Prince’s death, the artist’s estate, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Records, today released the original version of his iconic song “Nothing Compares 2 U”. The version, which was written and performed entirely by Prince except for some backing vocal and saxophone work, formed the basis for the original officially-released version of the song by The Family. That group, which was masterminded anonymously by Prince, included musicians from several of his projects, including singers Susannah Melvoin (twin sister of the Revolution’s Wendy) and Paul Peterson and saxophonist Eric Leeds, whose work appears on this version. It was recorded in July of 1984 during sessions that also produced material for “Around the World in a Day,” the follow-up to the “Purple Rain” album.
The hit version of the song was released by Sinead O’Connor in 1990 and Prince released a live take in 1993.
The new version of the song will be available to stream, to purchase via digital retailers and as two 7” vinyl singles (in picture disk and standard black vinyl formats). Download or stream the track HERE.
As remembered by Michael Howe, long-time industry A&R executive, Prince expert, and the Prince Estate’s official Vault Archivist, “I spotted the 2″ multitrack reel in the Vault some weeks back while doing a 1984-era inventory. After retrieving my jaw from the floor, we took the reel upstairs, analyzed it, put it up on the Studer 24 track machine, and digitized it to 24/192. Even our ‘faders up’ rough mix was compelling enough to indicate that this was something very special indeed.
“No Prince-penned song performed by another artist has enjoyed more chart success (#1 in over a dozen countries) and overall cultural impact than Sinead O’Connor’s 1990 recording,” he continued, “so hearing the song in its original context performed in its entirety by the author makes it particularly noteworthy.”
The song is accompanied by a video featuring never before seen rehearsal footage of Prince & The Revolution practicing their choreography in that same Eden Prairie warehouse during the same summer of 1984. Watch the video HERE.
The release is the first new material to come from the estate since a deluxe edition of the “Purple Rain” album — which was supervised by the artist before his death — last June, and is the first of what estate advisor Troy Carter described to Variety as “mind-blowing” material from the archive that he promised in January would be “coming soon.” While legal complications surrounding the estate continue unabated, Carter and estate personnel have been cataloging and examining the content’s of Prince’s much-vaunted “vault” of unreleased material. While music falling under Prince contracts with Warner Bros. Records is presumably clear for release, hundreds and perhaps thousands of other recordings remain in legal limbo; those assets were acquired by Universal Music Group in a $31 million deal in early 2017 deal that was later rescinded due to a lack of contractual clarity.
The estate also announced the return of the Prince HitNRun online pop-up store (www.PrinceHitNRun.com), where the limited edition, picture disk vinyl will be sold exclusively, as well as a variety of official Prince merchandise, including pieces that draw from his “Dirty Mind” and “Lovesexy” eras. The black vinyl 7” also will be available for pre-order from major physical retailers and will be released on Friday 25th May. It has also launched a new interactive site called Prince2Me (www.Prince2Me.com) that “explores what Prince means, individually and collectively to his fans” in what was described as “the first of many online experiences to come, each will shine a new light on his artistry,” as well as an “immersive annotated discography website highlighting the incomparable breadth and depth of Prince’s recorded catalogue” featuring audio previews, photos, videos, quotes and editorial commentary.
Visit the discography website here: https://www.princeestate.com